Canadian report criticizes Iran’s probe into downed passenger plane

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Iran is failing to adequately investigate the accidental shooting down of a passenger plane in January, according to a Canadian report released on Tuesday.

“Many of the key details of this horrific event remain unknown,” wrote Ralph Goodale, who has been appointed to advise the Canadian government on its response.

“Iran bears responsibility for that because — at least thus far — it has not conducted its investigations (safety, criminal or otherwise) in a truly independent, objective and transparent manner; and answers to critical questions have not been forthcoming.”

Iran refused to allow Canada to appoint an accredited representative to the investigation, limiting Ottawa to an observer role, and took more than six months to arrange a readout of the flight recorders, Goodale wrote.

Canada is seeking reparations from Iran, including compensation for the victims’ next of kin, a full accounting of what happened and a formal apology.

Iran had initially blamed the crash on a technical problem, but then admitted to unintentionally shooting down the airliner amid heightened tensions with US forces in neighbouring Iraq.

In its final report on the crash from mid-July, the Iranian aviation agency spoke of “human error,” saying a malfunctioning radar system caused communication problems with the responsible military unit.

The Ukrainian International Airlines (UIA) Boeing 737 was shot down by Iranian air forces shortly after take-off on January 8, killing all 176 people on board.

Passengers were from Ukraine, Iran, Canada, Afghanistan, Britain and Sweden. A total of 138 had ties to Canada.

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